It turns out perhaps HuffingtonPost is not always to be believed. But it can always be relied upon to grab your attention.

Yesterday a Huffington Post article carried the provocative headline: “Vatican: Atheists Can’t Be Saved After All”.

The article that followed explained,

Shortly after Pope Francis gave a groundbreaking homily in which he said even atheists who do good are redeemed, a statement from a Vatican spokesman seemed to walk back the pope’s words.

Just one day after the pope’s now famous remarks in Rome on May 22, a Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica released comments stating that people who reject the teachings of Jesus Christ can’t be saved after all.

But just who is this Thomas Rosica?

According to Wikepedia,

Fr. Rosica is a Canadian Catholic priest and Basilian Father.[1] He is the Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s Catholic Salt + Light Television network,[1] and frequent national newspaper columnist.

Does this make him “a Vatican spokesman”? Perhaps not.

Wikepedia explains,

Following the announcement on February 11, 2013 that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI would resign from the papacy, Fr. Rosica was invited by the Vatican to join the staff of the Holy See Press Office and serve as one of the official spokespersons for the transition in the papacy that included the resignation, Sede Vacante, Conclave and election of the new Pope. Appearing at daily news briefings and giving over 160 interviews in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German to news networks and media outlets from around the world, Fr. Rosica assisted the Vatican during a critical period in Church history.

In fact, Wikepedia, who get full credit for being remarkably up to date, goes on to point out HuffPost’s apparent error in identifying Rosica as “a Vatican spokesman”.

In May, 2013, Father Rosica made newspapers for issuing statements which appeared to explain or contradict recent words by Pope Francis. … However, as Fr. Rosica was not a Vatican spokesman at the time, this was not an official Vatican position.

Fr. Rosica’s comments which appear on the website Zenit ( – not in any way an official organ of the Vatican) are called an “Explanatory Note on the Meaning of ‘Salvation’ in Francis’ Daily Homily of May 22.” An “explanatory note” should, one would think, explain not contradict. Fr. Rosica’s comments as reported in the Huffpost seem to stand in stark contrast to and direct refutation of the Pope’s words.

HuffingtonPost reports Fr. Rosica to have written,

all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her.

However, in his actual text, Fr. Rosica goes on to add,

At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.

So, although Fr. Rosica’s comments may lack something of the generous spirit that seems to characterize this new Pope, the contrast between Rosica and Francis may be a little less stark than at first appears.

But, Fr. Rosica is apparently attempting to close a door that the Pope left wide open.

HuffPost may inadvertently have found itself entering a struggle for the soul of the Roman Catholic Church between the tight spirit of church bureaucrats and the surprisingly open generosity of the new Pope. Let us pray that the spirit of the Pope may prevail.


The sad thing about this little internal tiff over who gets in and who is barred the celestial resting place in the end, is that, if you look at the 5,310 comments attached to Hunter Stuart’s HuffPost article, it is clear that, rather than bringing clarity to the debate, Fr. Rosica has simply opened the church once again to predictable ridicule.


turns out even the venerable “Guardian” doesn’t check sources:

“the Vatican, which published an “Explanatory Note on the Meaning of ‘Salvation’ in Francis’s Daily Homily of May 22”

or UPI:

The Vatican retracted Pope Francis’ statement that everyone, “even the atheists,” were saved from sin and redeemed by God and therefore welcome in heaven.


Just to be clear, the origin of Fr. Rosica’s comments is the online news source Zenit which describes itself as:

an international, non-profit news agency staffed by a team of professionals and volunteers who are convinced that the extraordinary wisdom of the Pontiff and the Catholic Church can nourish hope, and assist all of humanity to find truth, justice and beauty. 

Our objective is to transmit information with a maximum level of professionalism, fidelity and service to the truth. 

Through the use of internet technologies, we aim to open a window to “the world seen from Rome.” With this aim, we translate and publish the Roman Pontiff’s words, messages, documents, speeches, and general audience addresses.

We report and offer commentary on what happens within the Roman Curia, pontifical universities, bishops’ conferences, sanctuaries, dioceses and parishes. We report on the major religious events of the world, informing about the themes, debates and events of interest to Christians, men and women of faith and non-believers of every continent.

ZENIT is an independent agency.

Note the last line. ZENIST is NOT a spokesman for the Vatican. Fr. Rosica does not speak for the Vatican.